Barbecue Meatballs with Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Meatballs to the Rescue!

Lately, it’s been difficult getting my 15-year-old to come to the dinner table. It’s summer vacation, so he’s with friends for most of the day. (Well at least most of the day, after they all sleep the morning away!) This teenage time is tough in a lot of ways, especially when I’m trying to stay connected to him and what’s happening in his life. He doesn’t talk to us as much anymore…he stays with friends right up until his 10:30 p.m. curfew and then gets back on the computer or his ipod to talk to them some more. This morning, I heard him laughing out loud downstairs, and when I asked what was so funny, once again it was watching his friends in videos that they posted on facebook. I know that 15-year-olds love being with their peers, but this social media is killing our relationship! We’ve even resorted to unplugging the wireless router when we go to bed at night, so our son can’t continue to be online while we sleep!

One of the things we do to make sure we have time with him is ask that he spend dinnertime with us at least four days of the week. This often comes up for discussion at about 5 p.m. each day, as I’m making dinner. If we haven’t already told him in advance, he’ll come into the kitchen (or call if he’s out) and ask, “Do I have to have dinner at home tonight?” Little does he know that I have a few tricks up my sleeve to make him want to join us…these barbecue meatballs always do the trick.

Barbecue Meatballs

If you have time, you can put the meatballs back into the fridge for about a half hour after forming them, before baking. This helps them hold their shape better, but isn’t necessary if you don’t mind some of them not looking perfect!

1.25 pounds ground turkey (or lean ground beef)
½ cup dry bread crumbs (unseasoned)
¼ cup milk
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 egg

It helps to dampen your hands with cool water before forming the meatballs, to keep the meat mixture from sticking to them.

Preheat oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit. Mix all ingredients together and shape into about 15 2-inch meatballs. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake uncovered in oven until browned and done, about 25 minutes.

Barbecue Sauce

8 oz. can tomato sauce
½ cup ketchup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon mustard
1/8 teaspoon red pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and place on stove burner on medium-low heat. Simmer while meatballs are in oven. When meatballs are done, let them rest for about 5 minutes, then remove from cookie sheet with a spoon and place into warm sauce. Let sauce cook into meatballs for 15 or 20 minutes. Serves about 4.

My daughter is 10 years old, so we’re savoring these last few years (months?) we have until she starts acting more like a teenager, too. For now, she’s happy to hang out with me most days, and today she’s helping make a simple summer salad to go with the meatballs. Can you tell? 🙂

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

½ large cucumber
2 Roma tomatoes
½ small red onion
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Thinly slice all vegetables. Drizzle vinegar and oil over all and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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